Structural heat treatments against <i>Tribolium castaneum</i> (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae): effect of flour depth, life stage and floor.

  • M. Brijwani Department of Grain Science and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, U.S.A.
  • B. Subramanyam Department of Grain Science and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, U.S.A. Email:
  • P. W. Flinn USDA-ARS, Center for Grain and Animal Health Research, Manhattan, KS 66502, U.S.A.
  • M. R. Langemeier Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, U.S.A.


The effect of high temperatures (50-60°C) and two levels of sanitation (~0.5 and 43 g of flour), on mortality of eggs, young larvae, old larvae, pupae, and adults of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, were evaluated during heat treatment of a pilot flour mill at Kansas State University. The mill was heated once during 13-14 May 2009 and once during 25-26 August 2009. Each of the heat treatments lasted 24 h. Bioassay boxes, with life stages of T. castaneum and temperature sensors confined in small compartments, were placed in 25 locations across all five mill floors. Temperature data showed that the mean time to 50°C based on the two treatments ranged from 10.39 to 17.18 h, and the mean time above 50°C ranged from 6.01 to 13.63 h. The mean maximum temperatures attained ranged from 50.7 to 61.4°C. In general, temperatures were lower in compartments with 43 g of flour when compared with compartments with 0.5 g of flour. Temperatures were also lower on the first floor than on the remaining floors. In box bioassays, essentially none of the life stages survived the 24 h heat treatment (99-100% mortality), except on the first floor. The survival of insects, especially on the first floor, is related to how quickly temperatures reached 50°C and how long temperatures were held between 50 and 60°C, and the maximum temperatures attained at a given location. There were only small differences in mortality between the two levels of sanitation. These results show that heat treatment of flour mills can control all life stages of T. castaneum in 24 h.

Keywords: Tribolium castaneum, Heat treatment, Sanitation, Life stages, Methyl bromide alternatives